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IS IT THE THOUGHT THAT COUNTS? A preliminary study Paper delivered at the Biennial AALL Conference – UNISA – Adelaide November 2011 LYNETTE FARAGHER UNIVERSITY.

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Presentation on theme: "IS IT THE THOUGHT THAT COUNTS? A preliminary study Paper delivered at the Biennial AALL Conference – UNISA – Adelaide November 2011 LYNETTE FARAGHER UNIVERSITY."— Presentation transcript:

1 IS IT THE THOUGHT THAT COUNTS? A preliminary study Paper delivered at the Biennial AALL Conference – UNISA – Adelaide November 2011 LYNETTE FARAGHER UNIVERSITY OF SOUTHERN QUEENSLAND SPRINGFIELD

2 Context Background – Masters study 1995 SA – Research Problem Statement – The written output of 1 st year students can indicate the quality of their thinking. – Research Questions To what extent does the writing of First year students show mastery of academic discourse and Higher Order Thinking? What aspects of UG writing indicate their thinking? How can those aspects be analysed and valued? Do the aspects chosen give us relevant information?

3 Methodology Data selection Software NVIVO Choice of tools – based on previous work and further research – Use of Academic Discourse – Use of Idiosyncratic Expressions – (Vocabulary) – Evidence of Comparison Analysis Hypothesis Metaphor Evaluation

4 Summary of Findings Use of Academic Discourse 10 sources/32 refs Idiosyncratic Expressions 9 sources/50 refs Comparison 12 sources/27 refs Analysis 9 sources/22 refs Metaphors12 sources/26 refs Hypothesis 7 sources/14 refs Evaluation 7 sources/10 refs

5 (Vocabulary) Paul Nation’s work Michael West’s General Service List (1960) University Word List (Xue and Nation. 1984) Vygotsky said that the relation between thought and word is a living process; thought is born through words. A word devoid of thought is a dead thing. He quoted Gumilev -...and like bees in a deserted hive The dead words have a rotten smell (1986:255)

6 Findings Use of Academic Discourse 10 sources/32 refs Formal writing which could also include use of discipline jargon. – Each transcript will be analysed and with assistance of theorists, essential parts will be highlighted to prove that the home provides a solid foundation, which is of a greater benefit to learning language and literacies

7 Findings contd Idiosyncratic Expressions 9 sources/50 refs when the language is non-standard but still contributes to the readers’ understanding. – In transcript one the scaffolding interactional cycle is used majorly but the structure of the transcript is applied loosely. This allows room for children to grow and parents to ease away from the scaffold – In Transcript 1 the explicit teaching that is portrayed is the way in which the mother approaches her teaching of a dozen eggs. It was not a thought out lesson plan, but an on the spot thought.

8 Findings contd Higher Order Thinking Higher order thinking occurs when a person takes new information and information stored in memory and interrelates and/or rearranges and extends this information to achieve a purpose or find possible answers in perplexing situations. Lewis and Smith (1993. p 136) Comparison 12 sources/27 refs – The informal surrounds of the home (transcript 1) is no more a barrier to a child’s literacy than the rigidity and regimented ambience (transcript 2) of formal schooling is conducive to it.

9 Findings contd Where observations go beyond description and look for meaning below the surface they can be described as analysis. Analysis 9 sources/22 refs – In the school environment, the community learning is richer as children are situated in a society with multiculturalism. Hull & Schultz (2002, pp. 2) describe, that personal literacy practices flourish in friendship or peer networks and high levels of literacy and language are used. However, in classrooms that are based on multiculturalism, the language and literacy would be poorer than those who have English as their first language.

10 Findings contd The generation of successful metaphors indicates the ability to think analogically which is, arguably, a complex intellectual process. It involves the construction of mental models and comparisons that interact and cause reformulation of the communication by the receiver (Faragher 1995). Metaphors12 sources/26 refs – This is true for both written and oral language development since the dialogic nature of language necessitates preoccupation with the socio-cultural orientation that is first being hatched and enriched at home only to be tested at schools.

11 Findings contd This category depended on the students displaying speculation, thinking about what if, expanding on an idea and showing that they are thinking beyond the boundaries of the assignment. Hypothesis 7 sources/14 refs – It helped her learn how to work out numeracy and quite possibly taught her what “a dozen” was – This may lessen some children’s progress as they are constantly being inadvertently ignored or interrupted

12 Findings contd Extracts were coded as evaluation when they expressed considered judgements based on the facts/evidence provided in the argument. Evaluation 7 sources/10 refs – This proves to have dire consequences on Mr. Hammond when at the end of the transcript the same student starts mucking around in the role play. Mr. Hammond becomes very angry at him, but this could have been prevented if his teacher talk was better.

13 ‘Conclusions’ The aspects chosen for investigation do indicate instances of Higher Order Thinking The methodology used enables analysis and evaluation While more data and more varied data will need to be analysed what is presented seems to indicate relevant information has been acquired.

14 Next Steps Expand the quantity and range of data Include word list in the tools Link more closely to the concept of the Interlanguage Continuum Re-visit my Vygotskyan reading and update on the more recent research using his theories Work towards developing assessment criteria that will support efforts made by students to acquire academic discourse and display evidence of Higher Order Thinking.

15 References Bloom’s Taxonomy of Learning Domains (1999, June 5). Retrieved November 7, 2011. Braun, V. and Clarke, V. (2006) Using thematic Analysis in Psychology. Qualitative Research in Psychology,3:2, 77-101 Faragher, L. (1995) Reading for Riches,. Unpublished M.Ed Thesis, University of Stellenbosch, Stellenbosch, South Africa) Kessler, C., and Quinn, M. (1987) Linguistic Minority Children’s Linguistic and Cognitive Creativity. Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development, 8,173- 186 Lewis, A. & Smith, D. (1993). Defining Higher Order Thinking. Theory into practice, 32,Summer 1993, 131-13.Retrieved October 27,2011 from EBSCOhost database7 Marzano, R.J. (2001). Designing a New Taxonomy of Educational Objectives California Corwin Press. Ryan, G. and Bernard, H. R. (2003) Techniques to Identify Themes. Field Methods,15:1,85-109.

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